Behold him who infecteth all the world. — Dante
Her gray fur is inescapable
like the bruises I left each time
I heard your lisp and thought Stop
being a sissy a pansy a fag
a reminder. I set the sticky trap
where mice now crane their necks
toward their mother, her teats
glued to the ground. I strike
her skull with a broom handle, dent
her cranium into a crescent moon
and let it wane between her eyes,
two unflinching stars. Is this mercy?
Or should I have walked away?
One night, after dad told me
to move out, I left. You sat
in your room, half-empty
prescription bottle eclipsed
by your fingers, each pill
bound in collagen—skin
and bone—their liquid hearts
burrowing into yours.
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